Being in a relationship with an alcoholic, whether it’s romantic or otherwise, can be very
emotionally taxing and exhausting. If you’re in a relationship with someone who has an alcohol
abuse problem and you think it might be time to end it, you might be nervous about the
outcome. A person who is addicted to alcohol likely has little control of their actions and
emotions, so it’s possible that they will react negatively if somebody ends their relationship. It’s
natural for those who plan to break up with an alcoholic to hold off on ending things because
they want to protect both themselves and the person they’re in a relationship with. However,
breaking things off might end up being the most healthy decision for both people involved.
What It’s Like to Be In A Relationship With An Alcoholic
It can be very difficult to maintain any type of personal relationship with an alcoholic, let alone a
romantic companionship. Individuals with alcoholism commonly display unpredictable or
dangerous behavior, which may pose problems for romantic relationships. People with
alcoholism are also more likely than others to be unfaithful or lie to their partner/spouse.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with an alcoholic, you’ve probably found yourself worrying
about where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. You might have even
covered for them, made excuses, or lied on their behalf a few times because you want to protect
them. Chances are, you even blame yourself for some of their uncontrollable actions. But the
key thing to remember is that your partner’s abuse has nothing to do with you. It is easy to take
some of the blame if you’re around someone frequently, but their alcoholism is not your fault.
There is nothing you can do to save them or stop them from engaging in dangerous behaviors.
There is also nothing you can do to change a person with alcoholism, as much as you may want
to fix them. All you can do is take care of yourself and make your own needs a priority.
When It’s Time to Leave Someone With Alcohol Abuse
Since alcohol is a disease, one person should not end things with another purely because they have been afflicted with this disorder. However, it is completely understandable for someone to break it off with an alcoholic if they feel like the relationship is hurting one or both of the individuals involved. Here are some signs that it might be time to break up with an alcoholic:
- If there is any verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- When you feel like you have to control them
- If they say they will get help but keep putting it off
- They are unfaithful or dishonest to you
- If they display no desire to change or get help
- If there are financial issues with no regard for improvement
- If you start to become codependent on them
- If they are repeatedly lying to you and others
- If they get a DUI, end up in jail, or otherwise ruin their life
It is important to remember that you cannot help someone just by loving them or putting them first. You may feel like you can put someone on the right path, but they can only get on that path if they choose to walk on it themselves. Once they’re on the path, they’ll need assistance from a trained substance abuse counselor to truly help them keep inching closer toward recovery.
How Should You End Things With An Alcoholic?
There is, unfortunately, no “right” way to break up with an alcoholic. However, there are some key things to remember if you plan to end your romantic relationship with someone who has alcoholism.
Here are some tips to keep in mind before ending things with an alcoholic: First, make a concrete decision about the break-up. Going back and forth could be harmful to both individuals in the relationship. Then, when talking to them, try to be gentle and understanding of their disease. Have an open and honest dialogue with them about the state of your relationship and how their actions have made you feel. If necessary, it may be helpful to get a counselor or relationship therapist to get involved in the conversation.
Taking Care Of Yourself After The Relationship
Above everything, make sure to take care of yourself if you currently are or previously were in a relationship with an alcoholic. Do not take any harmful or rude behavior they display as a reflection of who you are. Try your best to look into your future and let go of any guilt from the past. To fully move on from being in a relationship with an alcoholic and learn how to put yourself first, it may be beneficial to attend therapy on your own. Therapy will give you the opportunity to develop tools to help you live a healthy life free of burden, guilt, or heartbreak.